Understanding what’s inside your dog food formula by reading the ingredients list helps you pick a healthy dog food formula for your German Shephard Lab Mix. Ideally, all dog foods would be made with high-quality, all-natural, and healthy ingredients. What you really need to figure out when choosing the best dog food for a German Shepherd lab mix is optimizing their nutrition and well-being by avoiding chemical preservatives like BHA and BHT which have been shown to be carcinogenic in lab studies. You’ll be helping your furry best friend live a longer life.
That said, if you skim the ingredients profile, and not just whats on the front of the package, you’ll fully understand a dog food! However, we’ve done all the research and read through all the ingredients for you. This dog food review will help you to choose the best dog food for your German Shepherd Lab Mix.
Ultimately, we recommend that you follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) to avoid dog food formulas that have a lot of legumes in the first several ingredients at this time, and to also check for recalls regularly to make sure that your dog food brand is safe to feed your German Shepherd mix.
In a rush? Here are the top picks!
Dietary Requirements of German Shepherd Lab Mix Dogs
How We Chose the Best Dog Food?
Because the German Shepherd mix is a medium to large hybrid dog breed that may be prone to musculoskeletal issues, you’ll need to start feeding and exercising your dog correctly from puppyhood. Feeding them a high-quality dog food from a reputable brand allows for your dog to get plenty of high-quality ingredients.
Here’s what to look for when choosing a high-quality dog food. General ingredients that include whole meats, fruits, or vegetables in their top 5 ingredients are considered good foods. Those that also incorporate antioxidants like blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, and pumpkin are also becoming popular within dog food. In addition, organic, natural, and preservative-free with no artificial ingredients, are also key to a well-balanced, and high-quality dog food for a German Shepherd mix.
Important Features of Dog Food
One of the biggest trends today is grain-free dog food formulas. You’ll notice that many brands have been releasing grain-free versions of their original formulas. Today, it’s important to take note of all the grain-free dog food updates by the FDA with the potential for grain-free diets to trigger canine dilated cardiomyopathy. (CDC) Here’s what you need in a high-quality dog food for a German Shepherd Lax mix.
- Dog food formulas should contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives such as propylene glycol.
- Diets should include whole foods instead of processed foods.
- They should also use real meat instead of meat meal. This is important.
- Organ meats are also beneficial to dogs.
- Look out for by-products such as organ meats, which are fine, but no non-meat parts.
- There should be a good source of calcium in the dog food formula.
- The formulas should contain vegetables for fiber and nutrients such as flavonoids.
- Diets need to be tested using AAFCO feeding trials, or by formulation to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles
- There must be specific quality control measures to assure consistency and quality of all ingredients used, as well as for the end product.
- All dog food diets should be complete and balanced.
- The dog food formulas should indicate what life stage it is intended for.
- AAFCO provides nutrient profiles for all different life stages, all but for one, the senior geriatric dog.
- All dog food formulas must meet the AAFCO profiles for all life stages and must meet the minimum nutrient levels for growth and adult maintenance in dogs.
- A reputable and knowledgeable dog food company that has the highest quality control measures must make the dog food formula.
- Dog food should not be made in China, nor should any of the ingredients originate from China.
- Puppies should only eat a puppy food formula, and should always be fed a puppy formula.
- Large breed pups like the German Shepherd mix or Great Dane need to be on a large breed puppy diet to ensure correct growth and no growth abnormalities.
- Formulas should contain antioxidants, Omega 3’s, healthy ingredients, and a balanced diet for the appropriate life stage.
The 8 Best Dog Foods for German Shepherd Lab Mix
Here’s our take on the best food for a German Shepherd mix. We looked at dog foods that sustained the nutritional requirements of the adult Sheprador, as well as the best puppy food for German Shepherd Lab mix. A high-quality dog food will keep your furry best friend healthy, strong, and content. With all formulations varying, we compared each one to give you some of the best dog food brands for your German Shepherd mix.
With numerous formulas created by veterinarians and scientists for both cats and dogs, Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food is a popular brand formulated for large dog breeds like the German Shepherd mix. The first five ingredients include the following:
- Chicken meal
- Brewers rice
- Whole grain sorghum
- Brown rice
- Whole grain wheat
This dry dog food supports improved joint health in big dogs with EPA from fish oil, and also has naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin for optimal joint health. This formula contains minerals for bone health and is made in the USA. This is a dry food that helps maintain a dog’s ideal weight to prevent obesity and promote good health.
- Shown to improve mobility in 30 days via the added glucosamine and chondroitin
- Balanced minerals
- Priced affordably
- Good for dogs with sensitivities
- Formula designed by pet nutritionists and veterinarians
- Made with natural ingredients and vitamins
- All formulas AAFCO approved
- Made in the United States
- Not artificially colored, flavored, or preserved
- Natural ingredients with added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
- Hill’s food, shelter & love program donates food to shelters across the country
- Contains flaxseed, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Smell may be strong
With over 2,256 positive reviews, Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Large Breed Formula adult dry dog food comes veterinarian recommended, and has chicken as its first ingredient. It is formulated specifically for dogs 50 pounds and up. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Large Breed Formula features a highly digestible formula that promotes bioavailability to support optimal nutrient absorption for all dogs.
The formula is made up of 26% protein with a 12% fat content in each serving. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Large Breed Formula is good for maintaining a dog’s ideal weight and body condition together with regular exercise. This is a great German Shepherd Lab Mix dog food formula for active dogs with an optimal protein-to-fat ratio tailored to the dry formula.
- Features a natural prebiotic fiber, sourced from wheat bran to help promote optimal digestive health
- Formulated specifically for large breeds
- Super-premium dry dog food that offers 100% complete and balanced nutrition
- Contains omega-3 fatty acids, and glucosamine to help support joint health and mobility
- Guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health
- High-protein formula with real chicken for optimal muscle maintenance
- Contains natural prebiotic fiber
- Contains vitamin A and Omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health
- No fillers
- Awesome reviews from happy pet parents
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult & Senior Dry Dog Food may well be one of the best dog foods for a German Shepherd Mix. The ingredients in this dog food consist of farm-raised chicken, brown rice & sweet potato, with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
There is also added glucosamine and chondroitin for optimal joint health for your German Shepherd Lab Mix Adult dog. It’s crafted with essential antioxidants, like vitamin E, for optimal immune system health. Wholesome Essentials is Nutro’s most popular sub-brand because it contains a 23.3 protein, 14.4. fat, 3.9 fiber content with a 3635kcal/kg,336kcal/cup. This formula contains 58.3 carbohydrates.
This recipe is not grain-free and contains rice which may be a good option today due to possible links with feeding grain-free and cardiomyopathy (DM) in dogs that were fed a grain-free dog food formula.
This is a large breed dog food formula and German Shepherd lab mixes may do well with this specific formula. Keep in mind that sweet potatoes are the 8th ingredient. This formula also contains dried plain beet pulp that is a gentle fiber for optimal colon health. The beet pulp in the formula can prevent runny or loose stools, and even diarrhea in dogs.
Beet pulp is a soluble fiber that absorbs excess water. This formula may be good for large breed adult dogs with sensitive stomachs. This is a dog food formula that is tailored toward a large breed adult life stage. The first five ingredients consist of the following:
- Chicken meal
- Whole brown rice
- Brewers rice
- Split peas
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
- High-quality protein source as in farm-raised chicken
- No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavoring
- Complete and balanced dog food formula
- Farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
- No-chicken by-product meal
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- Contains whole brown rice for healthy grains
- Contains whole grain sorghum for cereal
- Split peas as the fifth ingredient may make up a large percentage of the formula
- Brewers rice is the fourth ingredient that has the same nutritional value as white rice
4. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food Large Breed
This is a large breed puppy dog food chicken and rice formula specifically formulated for large breed puppies only. The best dog food for your lab mix puppy may be Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food Large Breed because not only does this large breed puppy formula have real chicken as its first ingredient, but it supports the appropriate growth rate for large breed mixed like the German Shepherd mix, so that they can grow at the right rate.
You can feed this formula until your large breed puppy reaches 2 years of age. This formula is good for dog breeds that will reach up to 50 pounds in adulthood. This product features over 2,027 positive reviews. With guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune system health, Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food features these ingredients as the first five: Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal, and whole-grain corn Poultry by-product meal.
- Features vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids support his healthy skin and coat.
- Formulated for a specific life stage
- Features DHA from fish oil helps to nourish brain and vision development
- Added glucosamine for joint health.
- Added antioxidants to help with growing pup’s developing immune system health.
- The formula supports the appropriate growth rate for large breed pups like the Sheprador
- 100% complete and balanced
- No unspecified meat or chicken sources with real chicken as the first ingredient.
- Supports the healthy growth of large breed puppies
- Contains poultry by-product meals
Another great dog food formula with over 3,248 positive reviews! We like this dog food because it’s affordable, and comes from a very well-known and reputable brand that works together with veterinarians and nutritional experts in formulating the best dog food formulas for different life stages. This formula features real chicken as the #1 ingredient, and contains 30% protein and 20% fat to help fuel metabolic needs and maintain lean muscle.
This formula also features amino acids that help nourish muscles, including during the crucial time immediately following exercise. This is a Sport Performance 30/20 Formula for active large dogs that may be beneficial for dog breeds like the German Shepherd Mix Dog Breed. The first five ingredients contain chicken, corn gluten meal, Brewer’s yeast, animal fat preserved with mixed- tocopherols, finally, poultry by-product meal.
- Specialized dog food formula for active adult dogs.
- The formula helps to optimize oxygen metabolism for more endurance.
- This formula contains a blend of 30% protein and 20% fat to help care for your dog’s metabolic needs.
- Contains amino acids that are good for helping dogs maintain strong muscles, most especially post-workout.
- The recipe features chicken as the #1 ingredient and gives your dog the protein and nutrients he needs for an active or sporty lifestyle like adventure hikes, dog sports, training, hiking, and swimming.
- EPA and glucosamine help support joint health and mobility
- An antioxidant-rich recipe nourishes his immune system and helps defend it against free radicals
- Good reviews from pet parents with performance dogs
- Reviews show that this dog food formula may be good for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Priced affordably, so great for households with multiple working dogs.
This is another dog food formula offering real chicken as its first ingredient and includes glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate used to treat osteoarthritis. The formula is said to maintain a healthy digestive health and immunity with a blend of fiber and prebiotics. Iams large breed adult dry dog food formula uses no artificial preservatives or flavors. This formula features a whole grain recipe with ground whole grain barley.
Barley is high in fiber, easy to digest, and dogs enjoy the taste. With that said, it’s important to note that diabetic dogs do better without grains in their diet. Excess production of insulin results when dogs consume grains, and may also lead to obesity.
As usual, consult with your veterinarian if your furry best friend has a health condition, and discuss the best dog food formulas to meet his specific needs. The first five ingredients in this dog food are as follows: chicken, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, and chicken by-product meal.
- Real chicken as the first ingredient
- Veterinarian recommended
- No preservatives or flavors
- No fillers
- Includes glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate used to treat osteoarthritis
- Priced affordably, so great for multi-pet households.
- Chicken-by product meal with cornmeal as the second ingredient
Nutro formula features a trio of healthy proteins from chicken, lamb, And salmon. Chicken is the first ingredient in this dog food. Why we like this formula is because it offers a blend of 15 vibrant superfoods including coconut, chia, kale, blueberries, and other quality ingredients. This large dog breed formula does not contain chicken by-product meal, corn, soy, or wheat. These are common dog food ingredients that German Shepherd Lab mixes are allergic too. In addition, there are no artificial flavors preservatives, so it’s healthier than most dog foods on the market! It’s also reasonably priced!
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
- Offers real chicken as its first ingredient
- No chicken by-product meal, corn, soy, or wheat, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- This recipe is crafted with high-quality proteins
- No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors used in this formula
- Trio of proteins including chicken, lamb, and salmon
- Priced well for a multi-pet household
How to Choose a Dog Food for German Shepherd Labrador Mixes?
The dog food industry is huge, and there’s so much to choose from. No one size fits all when it comes down to dog food. What may work for one dog may not be that great for another! Ultimately, it comes down to your dog’s life stage, health, age, breed, allergies, and food preferences.
Your growing lab mix puppy will need different dog food formulas throughout his life depending on his life stage. The best optimal nutrition for dogs in all stages of life requires that protein, fat, micronutrients, carbs, are all balanced. With all dog breeds mixes and pure breeds having different energy requirements, different temperaments, and different health concerns, you’ll need to make sure that you’re feeding your furry best friend the right dog food formula together with all the correct supplements, antioxidants via fruits, and veggies, and “live” foods.
Dogs rely on us for their food, and what they eat every day will contribute to how efficiently they deal with environmental stresses, how diseases are prevented, and how their bodies are maintained throughout their lifetime.
Here’s the catch! Because all commercial dog food diets will meet our dog’s nutritional needs, many times we just don’t look at the long-term effects of years of eating inexpensive and highly processed dog foods. Dogs have a faster metabolism than humans, and also age faster, and if they’re fed a low-quality dog food throughout their lives they will show the effects of bad nutrition sooner than people do.
Dr. Gary Richter, M.S., D.V.M adds that “Many of the diseases of older pets are preventable conditions representing the cumulative effects of years of poor nutrition- metabolic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. But when it comes to poor nutritional choices, the largest problem among pets today is obesity.”
How Often Should You Feed Your Sheprador?
AAFCO model regulations and the federal feed laws stipulate that all pet food labels need to list all the ingredients in their formulas in descending order, according to the weight of each ingredient listed. With that said, it’s easy to see where the most important sources of calories and proteins are coming from – the first five ingredients listed. The first ingredient is the one ingredient that is present in the highest amount.
Today, it’s necessary to keep checking your dog food ingredients list to make sure that formulas have not changed. It’s pet parents that need to understand that all dog foods are made to meet the minimum of one recognized life stage: growth and pregnancy, or adult maintenance.
Pet parents need to know which life stage a pet food is marketed for. It may not be the same life stage for which the food actually meets the minimum requirements. If in doubt, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for nutritional advice.
The most important tips to keep in mind are the following:
- The recommended guidelines on bags often contain more calories than dogs need. Unless it is a very energetic working dog, feeding the lower end of the recommendation is advised.
- Feed a complete and balanced food for the appropriate life stage of your German Shepherd Mix
The Origins of German Shepherd Lab Mix
The amazing Sheprador, also known as the German Shepherd Labrador mix is a medium to large dog with the most wonderful temperament that’s always ready for outdoor adventures, and plenty of exercises. This fun-loving and active breed has a variance in coat color and coat length ranging from light brown to brown and black, and even tan.
The Sheprador makes for one of the best companion dogs because of its intelligence combined with loyalty and friendliness. And yes, if you hang out at your local dog shelter, they’re pretty common and very popular as a hybrid breed because they have outstanding qualities as a companion dog.
Shepradors are an outstanding “designer” breed that comes from two pedigreed dog breeds: The German Shepherd and the Labrador.
The AKC describes the German Shepherd as a “Generally considered dogkind’s finest all-purpose worker, the German Shepherd Dog is a large, agile, muscular dog of noble character and high intelligence. Loyal, confident, courageous, and steady, the German Shepherd is truly a dog lover’s delight.”
That said, there are special dietary concerns for this dog breed because it may be prone to musculoskeletal issues. Puppy food for German Shepherd Lab mix needs to be a large breed formula until they reach 80% of their adult size.
The World CynoSport Rally explains that “Although hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition, a recent doctoral research study by Randi Krontveit at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science examined the role that environmental factors played in its development.” Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease. Dogs are not born with hip dysplasia, but puppies that are genetically predisposed to it may develop it in varying degrees. The severity of hip dysplasia has an effect on when the dogs show symptoms of this disease and on how long they tend to live.
Any dog can develop hip dysplasia, but the condition is most common in large dogs such as the Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards, and German Shepherd Mix dogs. Previous studies have indicated that “rapid growth in a puppy and a high body weight were factors that increased the likelihood of developing hip dysplasia. But Krontveit’s study showed something different,” via Claudia Bensimoun, World Cynosport Rally.
Additionally, the Labrador Retriever is also a large dog breed, and is described by the AKC as “The sweet-faced, lovable Labrador Retriever is America’s most popular dog breed. Labs are friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions who have more than enough affection to go around for a family looking for a medium-to-large dog.” The Sheprador is recognized by the Dog Registry of America (DRA), and the International Designer Canine Registry ( IDCR).
Conclusion for Best Dog Food for a German Shepherd Lab Mix
You’ll want to feed your German Shepherd Lab mix the right dog food in order to give them a happy and healthy life. Remember that all dog foods are not created equal and you will need to carefully select the type of food that you feed your German Shepherd mix. In general, you should opt for all-natural ingredients that are high in protein, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, there should be little to no filler ingredients, artificial flavors, or preservatives. We hope that you should the best dog food for a German Shepherd Labrador mix.
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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